Restoring Rapa Nui – Cousteau Society and the government of Chile rise to the challenge!
The Cousteau Society, the Governement of Chile and the Rapa Nui representatives signed a historic agreement on April 16, to reforest the eroded lands of Easter Island.
On this page, follow the progress of the project, the fund-raising campaign informations, as well as general informations about Easter Island, the Rapa Nui culture and natural environment. You will also find images, video and stories about the Cousteau expedtion on Easter Island in 1978.
Rapa Nui represents a vivid microcosm of the impact of man and climate change on the health of our planet and the environmental and wider human issues now facing the world. But Easter Island is also a beacon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for its rich archaeological and unique cultural heritage.
The agreement marks the launch of an 8-years collaborative project involving The Cousteau Society, the National Forest Corporation - CONAF, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile - the local authorities of Easter Island as well as the Corporation for Easter Island Development (CODEIPA). At the core of the project is the restoration of the ecosystem support provided by healthy forests, recreating, in identified areas of the island, an ecosystem as close as possible to that which the first Islanders of Rapa Nui enjoyed.
First step - Creation of a Steering Commitee
In the presence of Francine Cousteau, President of The Cousteau Society, Executive Director Eduardo Vial of CONAF and Aida Baldini Forest Manager at CONAF, a Steering Committee was established for the project of ecological restoration of Easter Island. The creation of this working group is one of the first stages of the project, after the cooperation agreement between CONAF and The Cousteau Society was signed on April 17th.
The Committee provided a technical team with guidelines. The technical team is composed of a multidisciplinary group of Chilean and foreign professionals and will be responsible for the implementation of various activities.
CONAF will be responsible for the technical aspects of reforestation and soil restoration, and the Cousteau Society will be responsible for activities related to environmental education, communication and awareness at local, national and international level.
On this occasion, the Executive Director of CONAF, Eduardo Vial said that the activities on the island will allow to reach a balance that will benefit not only to the environment but also to local communities. Francine Cousteau added that one of the fundamental pillars for the success of this project is to raise awareness and educate the local community and the thousands of visitors which come to Easter Island, attracted by its natural and cultural beauty.
Cousteau Diver Center on Easter Island
Within the framework of the Cousteau Divers program launched by Pierre Yves Cousteau, the ORCA dive center of Easter Island, founded by former members of the Cousteau team on Calypso, has been labelled "Cousteau Diver Center". ORCA will help the Cousteau Society for development of different activities of the Cousteau project for the restoration of Easter Island ecosystem.
Ten essential Rapanui words and phrases:
Hello! Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! - 'Iorana!
How are you ? (singular) - Pehe koe?
How are you ? (plural) - Pehe korua?
Fine! - Riva-riva! (often sounds like diva-riva , or riba-riba)
Please - Ana hanga koe
Thank you - Maururu
You're welcome - O te aha no
What is your name? - Ko ai tou ingoa?
To your health! - Manuia (paka-paka)!
Goodbye - 'Iorana (old: Ko mao a )